(NaturalHealth365) Does the flu shot really help people avoid the flu? Simply put, millions of people are questioning the effectiveness of the flu vaccine and looking for a healthy alternative.
The flu season is upon us, and 2013 appears to be one of the very worst years for the disease. Naturally, pharmaceutical companies look to make a huge profit selling pills, potions and injections. However, there is a problem; most of these remedies don’t work.
For example, one of the most touted flu “vaccines”, Tamiflu, has shown little efficacy in the prevention or treatment of flu, this according to research published in the British Medical Journal. One researcher even called for European governments to sue Roche, the manufacturer of the drug. Another demanded that Tamiflu’s approval be withdrawn until Roche releases all data on the product, which they are reluctant to do.
Other research has shown that flu vaccinations are of questionable value. One study, published in the Cochrane Library, found little benefit for influenza vaccinations and noted that nearly all studies that showed any positive effect were funded by the pharmaceutical industry, and that there were harmful side effects, including Guillain-Barré Syndrome. This was of particular interest, as one of the participants in our health resort program contracted GBS after receiving a flu shot that nearly proved fatal.
Is there a better answer to preventing flu? Yes; that answer is vitamin D. Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council published a remarkable paper, which pointed out that cold and flu outbreaks are almost entirely seasonal. Flu in the United States, Canada, and Europe occurs primarily December through March, whereas in in Australia, Argentina, and New Zealand, the outbreaks occur June through September. Therefore, this malady occurs almost exclusively in winter.
Do you see the pattern? The outbreaks in each instance – northern and southern hemisphere – occur in seasons when the sun is low in the sky, and when little ultraviolet B light (UVB) can penetrate the atmosphere to stimulate vitamin D production by human skin. It stands to reason that most flu occurs in winter.
Without delving too deeply into the science, suffice it to say that vitamin D stimulates the production of a protein called cathelicidin, an immune-system protector. Cathelicidin penetrates the cell walls of viruses to kill them.
The vitamin D deficiency – flu hypothesis gained added credibility with the results of a three-year study of African-American women. The women were divided into two groups; one group was given a placebo; another group received 800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day for two years and then received 2,000 IU per day during the third year. Those who received no vitamin D experienced more than three times as many winter colds and flu cases as those who received 800 IU, but those who received 2,000 IU had only one case of flu during an entire year, and no winter flu!
It also is good to point out that the placebo group had 24 cases of flu in the winter. When we compare that to zero cases among the vitamin D group, we can see how effective vitamin D can be!
Based on the research, optimizing vitamin D levels through sunlight exposure or supplementation seems to be a much better method of preventing flu than using an ineffective drug with disastrous side effects. Check with your doctor and then start your vitamin D regimen!
About the author: Dr. Sorenson and his wife, Vicki, founded and directed one of the world’s most popular health resorts. During 15 years, their clients lost 110 tons of fat, two thirds of diabetic guests were free of medication in two weeks, and others recovered from high cholesterol, arthritis, migraines, hypertension, arthritis and allergies. The author of several health books, including Vitamin D3 and Solar Power – the Sorensons now direct the world-class destination health resort, National Institute of Health and Fitness (NIHF), in Midway, Utah. For more information – visit: NIHF.com or call 888-798-6443.
Godlee F. Withdraw approval of Tamiflu until NICE has full data. BMJ 2012 Dec 12;345.
Jefferson T, et al. Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults. Cochrane Library 2010. Available online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001269.pub4/abstract
Cannell, J. et al. Epidemic Influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect 2006;134:1129-40
Aloia, J. et al. Colds and Flu. Letter to the editor. Epidemiol Infect Jan 15, 2007.
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